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The successful candidate will be responsible for enhancing our organisation’s ability to create meaningful change for people with mental disabilities in Central and Eastern Europe. The Litigation Officer will be responsible for creating impact in the field under each of our three campaigns using litigation in collaboration with advocacy staff and partners towards the same ends.

Note: Candidates must hold the right to reside and work within the European Union; preference will be given to people who self-identify as having a disability.

Validity Foundation

Validity is an international non-governmental human rights organisation that uses legal strategies to promote, protect and defend the human rights of people with mental disabilities. Based in Budapest, Hungary, we work throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Eastern Africa. For over 15 years we have used strategic litigation, advocacy and other strategies to achieve systemic change for the better in the lives of people with mental disabilities.

Role Description

The Litigation Officer manages Validity’s litigation strategies in target countries to improve the lives of persons with mental disabilities in Central and Eastern Europe. In close collaboration with national level lawyers and partners, the Litigation Officer identifies opportunities to achieve strategic impact through litigation in each of Validity’s three campaign areas: independent living, legal capacity and inclusive education. The Litigation Officer helps develop litigation pathways and argumentation, and monitors and ensures progress of the litigation towards enumerated strategic goals as well as monitoring and evaluating the impact achieved. The Litigation Officer is responsible for identifying and capitalising on opportunities to compel implementation of judgments at national, regional and international levels. Together with the Impact Manager and the Litigation Manager, the Litigation Officer will ensure that advocacy and litigation initiatives are coordinated and mutually reinforcing.

The Litigation Officer will have a sound knowledge of litigation processes in an European jurisdiction and be able to adapt this knowledge in a flexible manner to diverse contexts. S/he will be able to take direction yet work independently where appropriate and towards a common vision of change. S/he will be open-minded, flexible and have the skills to manage multiple partnerships with lawyers and non-lawyers simultaneously. S/he will be quick to learn, creative with the law and able to translate a broad vision for change into concrete actions. The Litigation Officer will be highly analytical, comfortable working as part of an international, multi-lingual team and competent in representing Validity in a variety of fora. Working closely with Validity’s Impact Manager, the post-holder also has the capacity to manage advocacy and other initiatives in a number of jurisdictions.

Qualifications and experience

  • Postgraduate qualification in law, human rights, rule of law, justice or related field (or an undergraduate degree plus a minimum of three years’ relevant work experience).
  • 2 - 3 years’ experience working in the field of law, human rights, disability advocacy, international legal advocacy or related field.
  • Highly desirable: Litigation experience at national or international level; membership of a national Bar association
  • Desirable: Experience as a person with or working with people with mental disabilities; experience working with people from different cultures.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • Strong understanding of disability rights and international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Fluency in written and spoken English; proficiency in one of the following languages highly desirable – Czech, Romanian, Slovak, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Slovenian.
  • Excellent English legal writing skills.
  • The ability to make sense of imperfect and ambiguous information.
  • The highest commitment to Validity’s mission and campaign goals, with a clear understanding of the need to end discrimination and promote equality for persons with mental disabilities.
  • Creativity and confidence to design and implement impactful litigation.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well with a wide variety of stakeholders in a multi-lingual, international environment.
  • A proactive and highly-organised approach to managing multiple and competing priorities within a fast-paced working environment, maintaining attention to detail within strict deadlines.
  • Strong and clearly evidenced analytical skill, with the ability to assess law and public policy, identify key legal duty-bearers, and develop innovative legal solutions.
  • A confident yet diplomatic approach exhibiting strong professionalism at all times with colleagues and externally.
  • Highly desirable: An understanding of human rights and disability in Central and Eastern Europe.

Send your CV in English with a cover letter describing your suitability and motivation for the position as well as your salary expectations to validity@validity.ngo by 17:00, 25 February 2019. The subject line of the email should read “Application: Litigation Officer”. The cover letter should set out clearly how you meet each of the requirements in the job description.